IF HE was expecting a hero’s welcome from fellow students when he begins a course at Cambridge University next week, Prince William may have to think again.
The news that the Duke will spend a term studying a “bespoke” course in agriculture has prompted a backlash from other students who resent him being given a “free pass” when they had to work so hard to get there.
In its report on the Duke’s imminent arrival, the university student newspaper The Tab pointed out that: “Normally students need A*AA at A-level to gain entry to Cambridge University, whilst the Prince only achieved a mediocre ABC.
“Conveniently though for Will, he is the registered benefactor of the department he will be studying at.”
In fact, the Prince of Wales, not the Duke, is the Patron of the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, part of the university’s School of Technology, which organised the Duke’s course.
Melissa Berrill, who graduated with a degree in French and German last year, said admitting the Duke was “an insult to every student, whatever their background, who got into Cambridge by getting the required A-level or degree results”.
She also suggested the Duke had been given a “free pass” to study at the university.
Tim Squirrell, a natural sciences student, wrote in The Tab that he feared the public would “assume that he’s been let in simply because he’s posh and rich” when in fact the course he was studying is not academically selective and is aimed at company executives who are also given tailor-made tuition.
The Duke, 31, will spend 18 to 20 hours per week in lectures, seminars and meetings, as well as spending a considerable amount of time studying on his own during his 10-week course.
He is keen to beef up his knowledge of rural affairs before taking on a heavier royal workload, and also has one eye on his future role as owner of the Duchy of Cornwall, which will pass to him from his father when the Prince of Wales becomes king.
Not all Cambridge students are against the Duke’s arrival. One fourth-year student called Clare described his enrolment as “the most exciting news ever”, while Charlotte Ivers, a first-year philosophy student, said his arrival was a “joyous coup” whose arrival would hugely benefit the local economy through increased numbers of tourists.
Gordon Rayner, Telegraph.co.uk